Look, times are tough, right? Governments from California to New Jersey are struggling to plug budget gaps. And from Philly to Manhattan (hey, when you live in Jersey, that spans your world,) politicians and would-be politicians are coming up with all sorts of novel fixes.
How about this one, out of the city of brotherly love and sent up to us from Dinah Brin, one of the reporters in our Philly bureau:
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter would like the city to tame its, um, bottom lines, both fiscal and physical, with a 2c-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages. The city faces a budget crisis, and in his budget address today, KYW reports, Nutter proposes the new beverage tax and a trash-collection fee to generate $184M annually and save city services. The drink tax, which could raise $77M of that amount, would cover sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, sports drinks, chocolate milk and non-100% fruit juices, media reports say. The Pa. Beverage Association and a Teamsters local criticize the move.
Let’s get this straight: they want to tax soda, and charge a fee for a service for which residents already pay. That’s pretty desperate. Of course, if Nutter really wanted to raise some serious cash, he ought to tax cheesesteaks, although that might not go over so well. The point is, as was made rather effectively by New Jersey’s new governor, budgets have been frayed past the point of breaking, and some really, really new – or really old – ideas are needed to fix these problems.
Now, we’ve been getting emails this past week from somebody running for New York governor on a sort of peculiar agenda, but the more I read about stuff like the Philly soda-tax, the more I think this madam may be on to something.
“Women’s rights advocate Kristin Davis, a former Madam who supplied call girls for Eliot Spitzer and did time for her crime, announced her candidacy for Governor of New York on a reform platform of legalization and taxation of prostitution and marijuana.”
Hey, why not have a governor who’s already been convicted of a crime? Kind of get it all out of the way up front. That’s novel, right?